Happy Constitution Day!


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I bet you didn’t know! That’s OK, it’s not too late to get a gift.  Senator Robert Byrd created this holiday in 2004, so this is only the fifth one – but our great founding document, an inspiration to nations across the globe, was signed 221 years ago.  Let’s celebrate by resolving anew to take steps to strengthen this living document, and hold our government to account as best we can when they disrespect it.  While we celebrate the Supremes’ recent confirmation of the second amendment, let us try to recover the privacy rights of the fourth lost over recent years, and the painstakingly crafted separation of powers that’s been made a laughing stock of.  War, not declared by Congress?  NEVER AGAIN!  Here’s a first step for you: the Constitution’s best friends, the American Civil Liberties Union, invite you to a CONSTITUTION DAY KEGGER!

To me this day always means serendipity. Last year, a bunch of us patriotic rabble-rousers out in HB, calling ourselves “Huntington Beach Impeach,” had been showing up regularly at the televised council meetings with various creative arguments to convince the majority-conservative-Republican council to endorse a resolution for impeachment of Bush and Cheney – certainly a quixotic endeavor, but it at least got a lot of pro-impeachment arguments out onto HB TV screens.  (Our efforts eventually channeled off into this year’s attempts to defeat Dana Rohrabacher, either with mean Green Tom Lash or Mayor Debbie Cook.)

But when Constitution Day came along, we did something very special – instead of having 5 or 6 three-minute speeches for impeachment, we had about thirty speakers, each giving a very short impeachment argument, all different.  I wrote 36 of those speeches myself, which I’ll copy here just for the hell of it.  But – herding cats etc. – these were all very creative people from such a variety of ages, races, experience, and they frequently wrote or rewrote what I did.  It was beautiful.  Veterans, scientists, pastors… well, you can see it all at this link if you’ve got the time and interest…

first, go to  http://huntingtonbeach.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2

Then look for the “video” link to Sept. 17, 2007
click “jump to…public comments,”
and move up to the hour/minute/second marking below:

Karen Riggs does the intro 46:25
(Councilman Don Hansen disses us, 49:30)
Susan Kopicki (global warming) 52:50
Pat McCully (Geneva Conventions) 53:30
(Plamegate 1) 55:05
Allan Beek (Plamegate 2) 55:40
Vern (destruction of GOP) 57:05
Mike Musick (Abu Ghraib) 57:50
Dean Inada (habeas corpus) 1:03:40
Tom Lash [current Green candidate] (Katrina 2) 1:04:42
(Keith Bohr responds, 1:06:16)
Louise Stewardson (Katrina 1) 1:08
Joe Tyndall (9/11 commission) 1:08:56
Jeff Merrick (military unpreparedness) 1:14:25
Richard Reinbolt (his own speech on the war) 1:15:25
Mary Jo Larios (goddamn piece of paper / subpoenas) 1:18:20
Victor Camargo (g.d. piece of paper / signing statements) 1:19:18
Pat Alviso [of Military Families Speak Out] (dissing Gold Star Mothers) 1:25:55
Marjorie Niland (most vacationing / Terri Schiavo) 1:27:44
Lynda premature wrap-up 1:30:55
Dennis Berman (neglect of troops) 1:35:25
Sue Berman (her own comment) 1:37:50
Clark Casler (recess appointments) 1:41
Noor Al-Wajad (deficit) 1:43:50
Sharon Tipton (VA etc, w/ constitution prop) 1:44:50
[Teddi Alves, throws in a little impeachment with her spay/neuter 1:46:50]

Well, if you REALLY have the time and interest, here are the speeches I wrote – Those were the days! (except the ones marked LH are by the beautiful Green Lynda Hernandez:)

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I support an impeachment resolution in Huntington Beach because three young citizens from our city have died in a questionable and probably illegal war. Half of the nearly 3800 American solders killed in Iraq are under the age of 24 years. I also do not want our local tax dollars used to subsidize this war. These tax dollars should be used instead for our deteriorating infrastructure. By the way, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, a lifelong Republican, has just recently admitted that this invasion and occupation was all due to our need for oil. (L. H.)

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I support an impeachment resolution in Huntington Beach because our city would be vulnerable during a major earthquake or flood. Our National Guard has been deployed to Iraq instead of being on call as intended for national and local emergencies. (L.H.)

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I support an impeachment resolution in HB because I oppose secret spying on Americans without search warrants or judicial review, an illegal act the President has admitted to, and to remain silent would mean that I support such acts by my government. (L.H.)

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I support an impeachment resolution in Huntington Beach because we oppose the torture & abuse of military detainees in Guantanamo, Iraq, & Afghanistan and to remain silent would indicate that we are complicit. (L.H. #9)

Thank you.

(first of a group of two on Plamegate)

 

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because of the treasonous leaking of the identity of a brave CIA agent who had been working to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of our enemies, in order to punish her husband for exposing the administration’s lies. TREASON is a capital offense, but, generous as we are, we’re only asking for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney who masterminded this treason.

Thank you.

(second of a group of two on Plamegate)

My name is _____________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because, after a lengthy, expensive, painstaking investigation leading to the conviction of SCOOTER LIBBY for lying about the treason Laura just mentioned, Bush commuted his sentence and now says he may pardon him. This is exactly the scenario Madison and Mason anticipated at the Constitutional Convention as unquestionable grounds for impeachment: a President using his pardoning power “to pardon crimes which were advised by himself, or by the Vice President.”

Thank you.

(first of a series of 3 on Katrina & vacations)

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because the Bush administration and the unqualified cronies they appointed to positions way out of their depth, were too inept and indifferent to save one of our most beautiful and historic cities from HURRICANE KATRINA.

Thank you.

(second in a series of 3 on Katrina & vacations)

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because as New Orleans and Biloxi drowned, the President continued his long vacation, dancing about merrily playing guitar in California, and jovially cutting birthday cake with Senator McCain in Arizona.

Thank you.

(last of a series of 3 on Katrina & vacations)

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT IMPEACHING this MOST-VACATIONING PRESIDENT in History, because he would not cut short his vacation due to warnings of 9/11, and he would not cut short his vacation due to Katrina; the only thing that could make him rush back to DC from vacation was…to sign an emergency bill to keep the feeding tubes in a brain-dead TERRI SCHIAVO.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because of Bush’s regular use of RECESS APPOINTMENTS to sneak through incompetents and fanatics who would never get Senate approval. Three come to mind: A UN ambassador who had publicly fantasized about the UN building losing its top ten stories, and also chased a female Swiss diplomat down the hall; an anti-contraceptive activist to oversee poor women’s access to birth control, and a libertarian who advocates dismantling Social Security as deputy Social Security Administrator.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because of Bush’s constant habit of appointing “foxes to guard henhouses,” for example a former miner with a poor safety record to oversee mine safety, which leads inevitably to a situation where we have had SIX MAJOR MINE DISASTERS in the last six years, after having none in the previous eight.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION for this administration’s conversion of a budget SURPLUS into a gigantic DEFICIT with its prodigious borrowing and spending, as well as adding more to our NATIONAL DEBT in the last six years than ALL OTHER ADMINISTRATIONS IN U.S. HISTORY COMBINED—money that will have to be repaid by our children and grandchildren, and meanwhile keeps us in hock to nations like COMMUNIST CHINA.

Thank you.

(first in a group of 2 on “goddamn piece of paper”)

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because, as several Republican politicians attending a 2005 meeting on reauthorizing the Patriot Act reported, the President blurted out “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face, it’s just a goddamn piece of paper!” This is of a piece with Bush’s behavior—for example, ordering his subordinates to ignore CONGRESSIONAL SUBPOENAS, thereby subverting the balance of powers our Founding Fathers so carefully built for us.

Thank you.

(second in a group of 2 on “goddamn piece of paper”)

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT IMPEACHING the President who called the Constitution “just a goddamn piece of paper!” and showed what he meant by adding SIGNING STATEMENTS to hundreds of Congressionally-passed laws when he signed them, signalling that the law means only what he says it means, and making a laughing stock of our system of government. Let’s show him, on this lovely, sunny Constitution Day, that our Constitution is MUCH MORE than a piece of paper!

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION against Bush and Cheney, the most secretive administration in history, for their defiance of the FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT which they claim to be exempt from, and their contempt for any other procedures comprising OPEN GOVERNMENT, as typified in Cheney’s refusal to let any of us know who was on his ENERGY TASK FORCE in early 2001.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION for the administration’s regular firing of and retribution against WHISTLEBLOWERS, the brave men and women without whom we wouldn’t know half of what we know about the administration’s machinations.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because of Bush’s resistance to the creation of a 9/11 Commission, his subsequent stonewalling of it, and his finally agreeing under duress to speak to the commission only behind closed doors, off the record, not under oath, and with Cheney at his side. We think that it will take the process of impeachment hearings, and the discovery that entails, to help us learn more about what really happened that terrible day.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because our troops had to go years without the body armor and up-armored humvees they needed, and when they complained to Rumsfeld about this they were disciplined and pilloried as insubordinate.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because of the way Congress was made to debate and vote on the Authorization to Use Force in Iraq SIX WEEKS before a midterm election while America was still reeling from 9/11—in that context, as the Administration knew full well, it would take a politician of rare courage to stand up and vote “No.” THIS IS IN STARK CONTRAST to the way Bush’s father conducted the debate and vote on Desert Storm 12 years earlier, postponing it till AFTER the elections so that Congress could truly and seriously weigh the pros and cons.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because Bush and Cheney have essentially renounced the GENEVA CONVENTIONS (which their legal team calls “quaint”) to the consternation of military leaders and experts who know that, not only is this a stain on our national character, but our troops will also suffer for it when they are captured.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT IMPEACHING this President because he has not attended the funeral of a single soldier or marine who lost their life in his war of choice, and also because of his policy of not letting anyone see or photograph the coffins returning from Iraq, and also because of his refusal to meet with Gold Star Mothers.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION for this administration’s running our military into the ground so we’re completely unprepared for any real threat: Even when this terrible occupation finally ends, our troops are exhausted, demoralized and damaged; recruitment numbers are in the pits; and our best equipment is falling to pieces in the desert sandstorms.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because of the defunding of the VETERANS’ ADMINISTRATION, the privatization of the care of our returning soldiers leading to situations like what we recently saw at Walter Reed, and numerous other examples of neglect of our brave returning heroes. It should not have been necessary, although it was a laudable gesture, for the Huntington Beach City Council to have to pass a resolution last month calling for veterans’ services to be fully funded.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because the Bush administration’s renunciation of Clinton’s agreement with NORTH KOREA (which both sides were at least partially honoring), and our complete neglect and isolation of that rogue state, led to Kim Jong Il’s accelerated acquistion of nuclear weapons.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because Bush’s old friend and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has converted the JUSTICE DEPARTMENT into an arm of the Republican Party, FIRING HONEST ATTORNEYS for pursuing justified investigations of Republicans or for refusing to pursue baseless charges against Democrats. And rewarding other attorneys for doing the converse.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because, heck, we know now that Bush never should have been President anyway, as recounts have shown he didn’t actually win Florida in 2000. No, we have NOT gotten over that.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because this administration has forbidden government scientists from even mentioning GLOBAL WARMING; and since pulling out of the Kyoto protocols they have done absolutely nothing on this burning issue, claiming that “the science is still out” as glaciers melt, polar bears drown, and Southern Californians die in the summer heat waves. (58 in the first week of September!)

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because of ABU GHRAIB.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT IMPEACHING this President because the only issue he has felt strongly enough about to pull out his veto pen, twice, is to veto government funding of STEM CELL RESEARCH, which could save so many lives, just to keep the fundamentalists happy. Meanwhile Americans continue to suffer from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes, while other sensible countries are doing the research and getting the patents on the medicine of the future.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because of Alberto Gonzales’ midnight visit “ON BEHALF OF THE PRESIDENT” to the hospital bed of a sedated John Ashcroft, to coerce the sick man into signing off on a warrantless eavesdropping program that he believed to be illegal.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because of a comment the President recently made on HEALTHCARE: “Anyone can get healthcare in the US, just go to an ER!” Not only is this ignorant and callous, but also irresponsible—the overuse of ERs for non-emergency care, by poor uninsured folks who won’t be able to pay afterwards, is one of the great crises in our healthcare system now.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because of the administration’s suspension of HABEAS CORPUS—the right to contest one’s imprisonment—and not just for foreigners but US citizens as well. Habeas corpus is a most basic right this nation was founded on, and the loss of it catapults us back to not only before the Constitution, but before England’s Magna Carta.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because of the pervasive granting of NO-BID CONTRACTS to politically-connected companies both in Iraq and on the Gulf Coast. This policy has cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars, and often for work never completed. It’s enough to make you think that maybe Bush and Cheney have some sort of connection to Halliburton, and also that maybe simple WAR PROFITEERING is this war’s real secret reason that we’ve all been searching for.

Thank you.

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION for Bush and Cheney’s destruction of the REPUBLICAN PARTY—the once Grand Old Party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ike, now reduced to … well, to what we see today. A healthy democracy needs (AT LEAST) two parties that actually stand for something. In the old days the GOP stood for small efficient government, fiscal responsibility, individual liberties, states’ rights, and a strong but smart defense without unnecessary foreign adventures. Not any more, obviously.

Thank you.

(if not covered in opening statement)

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because this administration’s disrespect of the FIRST AMENDMENT extends to ejecting and arresting protestors at all public appearances of the President and Vice President; the only dialogue they want with the American people is the sort they have at their invitation-only “town-hall meetings” where every attendee must swear an oath of support. What a pathetic country it’s becoming under this team.

Thank you.

[Lo Priority]

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because of the awarding of the PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM to three grade-A buffoons who did as much as anyone to harm US security and national interests—of course I speak of Paul Bremer, George Tenet, and General Tommy Franks.

Thank you.

[Lo Priority]

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because, as the genocide in DARFUR continues unabated, our government does nothing about it, nor can it really, being tied down in an illegal, immoral, and unwinnable war of choice in Iraq. Nor can we credibly talk about prosecuting the war criminals in Darfur, as one of Bush’s first acts was to remove the US from the INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT.

Thank you.

[Lo Priority]

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT AN IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION because of the administration’s policy of vetoing any UN or World Health Oragnization anti-HIV program that includes mention of condoms or contraceptives, because we know only ABSTINENCE will work for those Africans—it works so well here!

Thank you.

[Lo Priority]

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I SUPPORT IMPEACHING this President for eroding all the goodwill the world felt toward us after 9/11 until we are now a PARIAH STATE. Oh, and also for making us cringe with embarrassment every time he travels abroad.

Thank you.

[incorporated into Karen’s opening statement? Or else last!]

My name is __________ [optional—live in HB? How long? Occupation?]

I support an impeachment resolution in Huntington Beach because as City Council members you took a sworn oath to protect the U.S. Constitution from foreign and domestic threat. It is your duty to act upon perceived threats. As your constituents, we have outlined a case of numerous abuses of power. It is now time for you to respond. (L.H.)

Thank you.



About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.